Archive for July, 2012

“Are we supporting the artists or enabling the addict? I mean, I guess it matters to me, I wish it mattered to you” – Aesop Rock “Zero Dark Thirty”

Skelethon is the ninth album, sixth full-length, from Aesop Rock over the past fifteen years, but his first in almost five years.  Since the last time we heard from Aesop, Def Jux has dissolved, he’s moved out San Francisco, gone through a divorce, lost a close friend to cancer, and seen a drastic reduction in his collaboration with many of his former labelmates and close friends.  By his own admission in recent interviews, Aesop has entered into a much more solitary period in his life, perhaps to an unhealthy degree.  It is during these rough and lonely periods that artist often create some of their most thought-provoking work, but for Aesop Rock, an artist who is known to provoke a great deal of thought, that’s a daunting endeavor.  On Skelethon, Aes decides to go without any assistance from guests rappers for the first time in his career, and more surprisingly does not record over a single track from long-time collaborator and friend Blockhead, choosing instead to handle all of his production himself, for the first time.  While self-producing a featureless album (there’s a singing feature and some backgrounds, but we’ll disregard that for the sake of argument) certainly should be a recipe for extreme cohesion, it’s certainly a daunting task, especially for an artist not always known for producing his best material.